Authors:Kristen Berube, Enrique Ortega
Mentor:Enrique Ortega, Professor of Health Science, California State University Dominguez Hills
Gender Differences in Parenting Perceptions and Health Behavior Effects of Mediterranean Adolescents Hypothesis: This investigation explored the associations between perceived family strictness of rules and a number of health behaviors commonly seen as negative outcomes of problematic parenting. Rationale: While much is known about this topic among US populations, not much is known among Mediterranean adolescents. Furthermore, due to differences in the application and interpretation of parenting rules according to gender in such culture, we were interested in analyzing the effects by gender. Methods: The sample consisted of 302 Italian high school adolescents (48% female), ages 15-19 years (mean age = 17.4 (S.D. = 1.4)). The participants were representative of the population of adolescents attending high school in this part of Italy. Bivariate correlations were used to explore the associations of among our variables of interest. This investigation employed secondary analysis investigative methods. Results: Results among males indicated that greater perceptions strictness of rules were negatively correlated with alcohol use (r= -.171, p<05). Greater indications of strictness inside the home were also associated with less alcohol use (r= -.242, p< .001). Results among females showed that greater indications of perceived strictness of rules were negatively associated with marihuana use (r=-.286, p<.001) and alcohol use (r=-.267, p=.001). Similar findings were shown with greater indications of strictness both inside and outside the home. Greater parental support was negatively correlated with marijuana use (r=-.201, p<.02), tobacco use (r=-226, p<.03) and eating disorder (r=-292, p<001). Principle conclusions: These results show a marked difference on the health behavior effects of perceptions of parenting according to gender. Such findings indicate that the influence of parenting on health behaviors may be gender specific. Further research is needed which can help clarify such differences. This information could be vital for the development of health risk prevention efforts.